Monthly Archives: December 2015

Black Birch Cross

Michaela Harlow, Black Birch Cross, 2015, Oil, Graphite and Pencil on Wood Panel Black Birch Cross, 2015, Oil, Graphite and Pencil on 12″ x 12″ Wood Panel

Yesterday’s snow storm turned into more of an ice event: beautiful and treacherous. I awoke to find trees and shrubs covered with some of the most incredible hoarfrost —long, spiky and thorn-like— that I’ve ever seen. Early outdoor explorations proved somewhat daunting, though. I spent more time on the ground than standing up and driving into town to run errands was out of the question.

I put my camera away and spent the day working on a small piece inspired by a recent hike along a nearby ridge line. Later, after more gritty precipitation made walking possible, I went back out to explore before nightfall.

Black Birch Cross in Progress Work in progress

Posted in Oil on Panel, Winter Paintings Tagged , , , , , |

Sun Dance

Michaela Harlow, Sun Dance, 2015, Oil, Graphite and Pencil on Wood Panel Sun Dance, 2015, Oil, Graphite and Pencil on 12″ x 12″ Wood Panel

With the longest night of the year behind us, days are growing longer now —not that anyone would notice. Still, there’s something hopeful about turning the corner in this dark season. Up at 5:30 a.m., I grope around in the dark until sunrise, frustrated by 8:30 or 9 a.m. starts in my studio. I long for springtime daylight.

I began this piece five or six days ago, but stopped with the orange-tinted underpainting and loosely sketched composition. As luck would have it, snow-squalls obscured the morning sunrise and gave me an idea for this second layer.

After finishing this piece, I spent the late afternoon clearing brambles and brush along the edge of my meadow. It felt good to be outside in the cold air and brilliant, late-day sunshine.

There’s a storm blowing in tonight: snow, sleet and freezing rain. I’m afraid that tomorrow will be dark again.

Posted in Oil on Panel, Winter Paintings Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Song of the Solstice

Michaela Harlow, Song of the Solstice, 2015 Oil, pencil and graphite on wood panel Song of the Solstice, 2015, Oil, Pencil and Graphite on 12″ x 12″ Wood Panel

I always forget how much of a struggle it is to get things done on these short days and lately, the lack of daylight has been compounded by foggy, rainy, overcast weather. I love the mood, but find myself frustrated by abbreviated work hours. I need my work as much as I need the sun.

But the solstice is here and although the change is slow in coming, daylight hours will soon begin to grow.

Michaela Harlow, Song of the Solstice in ProgressChasing shafts of light through the forest on these short, dark days

Posted in Oil on Panel, Process Tagged , |

To Mend

Michaela Harlow, To Mend, 2015, Oil and Graphite on Wood Panel  To Mend, 2015, Oil and Graphite on 16″ x 16″ Wood Panel

This piece has been a long time coming —with layers of slow-drying red and yellow oil paint above and beneath graphite and stick— but good things come to those who wait. I am pleased.

Posted in Uncategorized Tagged |